Kids-Rule Day!!!

Sara Colket Photography - Korn 2015 WATERMARKED-233

This post is 2 1/2 years in the making!  February 2013 Jerald was out of town on a business trip.  I was trying to move the boys along from dinner to bath to bed after being on my own for a couple of long days.  Justin, who was 5 at the time, looks at me, in a very sweet way, and says “how come you get to make all the rules?”  Well, that was an interesting question.  I explained to them, that I am the Mom, I know what is best for them, it is my job to keep them safe and healthy, etc…  Justin then asked if they could make the rules one day.  I thought about it, and it seemed like an interesting idea.  A day where the kids could really make all the rules.  What would that look like?  Chaos?  A giant mess for me to clean up?  Multiple trips to the hospital for injuries sustained while my three boys made the rules?  No – it couldn’t be that bad.  I almost said, “Ok – let’s pick a day soon and you guys will be in charge.”  Luckily, I thought for a second and came up with a plan.

Seth was in 1st grade at the time, and his teacher had a teddy bear jar.  When the kids did something good or nice, she would add one little teddy bear to the jar.  When the jar was filled up the class would get a really nice treat.  One time it was pajama day at school and another time it was fancy day with suits, dresses and little snacks.  I took this idea for my own and created “Kids-Rule Day!”  I found a cheap vase, tapped a little note on and bought some bouncy smiley balls to fill it with.  I introduced the idea the very next morning to the kids.  They were thrilled!

There were a few simple rules we put in place.  The kids could earn smiley balls in a lot of different ways.  Good behavior, being nice or kind to your family, or whenever else we felt that some good action should be rewarded.  Smiley balls were never taken away once they were in the jar.  Once they were earned that was it.  My parenting style definitely consists of time-outs and taking away privileges for bad behavior.  But for some reason, taking out hard earned smiley balls seemed to be too severe of a punishment and against the intent of the project.  Once the jar was full, the boys would have the whole day to make the rules.  We discussed that these “rules” could not be anything that would destroy the house or be dangerous.  There would be no writing on the walls of the house!  (that was actually Ezra’s first idea of what to do.)

When Jerald came home from his business trip, he was intrigued by the idea, but said he wanted to be at work when Kids-Rule Day finally came around.  I had no idea how long it would take to fill the jar.  There were times when they were earning multiple smiley balls in a week, and other times were weeks would go by with no smiley balls.  Sometimes it was because their behavior wasn’t up to the smiley ball standard.  Other times it was because no one was thinking about it – and it didn’t’ occur to us to give one.   It was something they were always working towards.  If there was a fit about sharing a toy – sometimes offering a smiley ball would help ease the situation.  If we were going out to a fancy dinner with family – the promise of three smiley balls would help focus them on their good behavior.  Even though the promise of Kids-Rule Day was so far in the future – they held on to their goal and worked together.

The summer of 2014 I had two weeks in a row with the three boys and what I call “Mommy Camp.”  I thought that one of those days would be a perfect day for Kids-Rule Day.  We booked our days so full that there was never enough time, and there was still too many balls needed to fill the jar.  The winter of 2014-2015 in Boston was beyond brutal.  We had over 100 inches of snow and my kids had 9 snow days!  The jar was near full, and I told Jerald that we should plan to have it full on a snow day.  He agreed – but for some reason we got busy with other snow activities and it never happened.  We finally got to the summer of 2015 and the jar was really almost full.  The time had come!  On a thursday morning, we scheduled our yearly family photo-shoot and we told the boys, if they behaved well they would each earn a smiley ball which would put them over the top and the rest of the day would be Kids-Rule Day.

After the photo-shoot each boy put their last ball in and you can see from the pictures our family photographer snapped, how excited they were!  Jerald and I had been discussing what would it actually be like when Kids-Rule Day came.  We thought they would watch a bunch of tv, eat some junk and then get bored and want to do something else.  We were wrong!

They all put on the pajamas, raided the pantry and started eating cookies and hershey kisses, and turned on the tv.  They watched tv for 10 and 1/2 hours straight!!!!  At one point, my cleaning lady was vacuuming the floor of the living room, so they took the ipad and all laid in one bed to continue watching tv.

 They ate pizza and ice cream for lunch and sushi for dinner.  By dinner time, they didn’t want anymore candy or sugar but they still wanted more tv.  If they had stopped at some point and asked to go to a toy store, a trampoline park, the pool – I would have taken them.  But all they wanted to do was watch movies and tv.  Such an interesting but scary experiement!

 After they went to sleep, I emptied all the smiley balls out and replaced the empty jar.  I was slightly worried about their reaction.  They said – ok let’s start earning smiley balls again and they began to make plans for the next Kids-Rule Day.


Best Oven Roasted Salmon

Best Oven Roasted Salmon


Best Oven Roasted Salmon


  • 1/2 lb Salmon per person
  • 18" pieces of aluminum foil
  • 1 long scallion
  • 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 chopped tomato
  • 1 lemon sliced thin
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay out aluminum foil on baking sheets.
  3. Place fish in lower center half of the foil.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Chop up scallion and tomato.
  6. Place on each piece of Salmon.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
  8. Place two slices of lemon on the top.
  9. Fold up the foil tight.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes.


You can serve this right out of the oven - or even refrigerate and serve cold the next day.

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Easy Stress Free Thank You Notes



I have birthdays on the mind.  In November two of my three kids have birthdays and that means parties and the dreaded thank you notes!  I do think they are important.  I want my kids to be appreciative of presents they have received from friends and family.  I know that our family members love to get them.  HOw to make them stress-free and streamline the process?

I am all about photoshop – photo editing.  What I have been doing the last bunch of years, is to use a photo from the child’s birthday party, or to have them write thank you poster and hold it up in a picture, or once we even created a thank you sign with legos.  You can either print it out just with the thank you, or in photoshop you can add some special text as I did above.  I print out these photos 4×6, one for each thank you note.  At this point  you can have your child hand write a quick thank you on a blank index card and tape it to the back of the photo.  You could also type specific words, print it out, and tape it to the back.


Summer Bucket List


You might be thinking this is a really strange time to post a summer bucket list.  Yes, I know my older two boys start school again in 15 days (not that I am counting!).  We have been working on our bucket list all summer – but now with only two weeks left of summer we have the most time we have had all summer.  Camps and vacations are mostly done and the boys are actually sick of our local pool.  Time for Mommy to get creative.  Referring back to our list is going to save me from the “Mommy I am bored” chants.  Here is our list that my boys and I created in June.  Pick a couple of fun summer things to do with your kids before school begins.

Here is my complete list and a link to a word document you can customize for your own family 2015 Bucket List

Summer Bucket List 2015

  • stargaze
  • go on a scavenger hunt
  • swim in a lake
  • make s’mores
  • go to Newport, RI
  • go to New Hampshire
  • watch a movie outside
  • go on a factory tour
  • take a sewing class
  • water balloon fight
  • swim in the pool
  • have a picnic
  • pick strawberries
  • family game night
  • tv night
  • nature walk
  • make popsicles
  • go to the library
  • read 15 books
  • bowling
  • go to the beach
  • go to the farmer’s market
  • take a boat ride
  • eat ice-cream
  • build a sandcastle
  • play in the sprinklers
  • watch fireworks
  • build a fire
  • have a bbq
  • play hopscotch
  • puppet show
  • build an indoor fort
  • make and fly paper airplanes
  • farmer’s market
  • bubbles
  • splash in puddles
  • visit a museum
  • ride bikes
  • have a water gun fight
  • do a science project
  • stay in pajamas all day
  • Mentos experiment
  • go to a new park
  • write a story
  • mini-golf
  • tie-die project
  • make a book
  • have a dance party
  • relax
  • go on a hike
  • take a night walk
  • plant our garden
  • find shapes in clouds
  • make popsicles
  • fly a kite
  • watch a sunset
  • do something good
  • soaker ball sponges
  • family photo shoot
  • draw with chalk
  • have a picnic
  • eat dinner on the deck
  • go to NY
  • melt crayons in the sun
  • donate old books, toys and clothes
  • play tennis
  • play a family game of basketball
  • play Frisbee
  • play dress-up
  • indoor obstacle course
  • Visit Daddy’s work

The Big Baby List

Big Baby

Not a rule but more of a tradition – pregnant Jewish couples usually do not have baby showers. There is a superstition about buying and receiving baby gifts before the birth of a baby. To follow this tradition is hard as you are sitting there with a growing belly and desperately wanting to get organized for your new family member. As I was pregnant with my first son, I chanlled this energy into what I called “The Big Baby List.” I needed to get organized the only way I knew how – making a list! I divided it into different sections. (1) Need Before; (2) Need After; (3) Need Later; (4) Hospital Bag.

You can download this list here and edit it to make it your own.  Big Baby List

Need Before – these were the handful of things that I wanted to buy before.  I felt that I couldn’t go into the hospital to give birth without having these things already bought.

  1. Pack-n-play or other bassinet
  2. Infant Car Seat
  3. Nursing Bras
  4. Diapers
  5. Baby Wipes
  6. Bibs
  7. Glider / Rocking Chair
  8. Wash Cloths
  9. Blankets
  10. Burp pads – cloth diapers
  11. Baby laundry detergent

Need After – these were things I wanted to my parents and close friends to go and buy shortly after we came home from the hospital.  We didn’t need these things right away – but I thought we would use them sooner rather than later.

  1. Diaper Pail + refills
  2. Baby Monitor
  3. Stroller that fits infant carseat
  4. Umbrella stroller
  5. Baby Carrier
  6. Baby Bjiorn or sling or Ergo
  7. Night Light
  8. Breast feeding pillow
  9. Breast Pump
  10. Nursing Tops
  11. Bottles
  12. Breast Pads
  13. Pacifier
  14. Clothes
    1. Onsies (4-7)
    2. One piece nightgowns w/ drawstring bottom (4-7)
    3. Cotton shirts w/ snaps @ neck (4-7)
    4. Sweater or jacket (1)
    5. Socks/booties (4-7)
    6. Hat
  15. Grooming kit
    1. Soft hair brush
    2. Comb
    3. Infant Nail Clippers
    4. Baby Shampoo
  16. First Aid Kit
    1. Rectal Thermometer
    2. Diaper Ointment
    3. Baby Tylenol
    4. Bulb Nose Aspirator
    5. Petroleum Jelly
    6. Rubbing Alcohol
  17. Diaper Bag
  18. Travel baby wipes
  19. Changing Pad
  20. Hooded terry cloth towel
  21. Laundry bag

Need Later – these were things on my wish list, but I knew we could wait until the bris or later to receive them.

  1. Crib
  2. Mattress
  3. Sheets – 2-3
  4. Bumper pad for crib
  5. Dresser
  6. Changing Table Pad
  7. Baby Bathtub
  8. Baby swing/bouncer

Hospital Bag – I obviously had my hospital bag packed for a while – but it still felt good to have a checklist.  These were musts for me to have in the hospital.

  1. Going home outfit – me
  2. Toiletries
  3. Flip-flops
  4. Socks
  5. Underwear
  6. Lip Balm
  7. Snack food
  8. Magazines
  9. Sanitary Pads (the ones they give you are enormous!)
  10. Nursing Bra
  11. Book on nursing
  12. Camera
  13. Camcorder
  14. Telephone List (list of people or places you will need to call from hospital)
    1. Family
    2. Friends
    3. Moyel?
    4. Pediatrician
    5. Furniture Store
    6. Magic Beans
  15. Baby’s going home outfit
    1. T-shirt that snap closed on the side
    2. Diaper
    3. Something for the feet
    4. Outer outfit
    5. Hat
    6. Receiving blanket

Fish Tacos – my kids most favorite meals #1



Fish Tacos – my kids most favorite meals #1


  • 1/2 lb per adult / 1/4 lb per child of white fish (cod, tilapia, sole)
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 lime
  • 1-2 tsp of cumin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fixings: (use them all or pick and choose your favorites)
  • Guacamole (store-bought or homemade)
  • Black Beans (drained and washed)
  • Shredded Lettuce or Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Red cabbage
  • Red pepper
  • Canned Corn (drained)
  • Cilantro
  • Toritalla chips, hard taco shells, or soft flour tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a glass pyrex pan scoop the coconut oil into the pan. Put pan in the hot oven for 5 minutes or until the coconut oil is melted.
  3. Coat each side of the fish in the melted oil. One one side of the fish squeeze lime juice, about 2 teaspoons per piece.
  4. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and cumin on top of fish.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until center of fish is flaky.
  6. Serve fish with any of the fixings you think looks good or you have handy.
  7. You can serve in a taco shell or a flour tortilla or serve over the vegetables like a salad.
  8. The options are endless!
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I have been keeping a list of successful dinners.  To make it on the list of successful dinners a meal must be: (1) relatively easy to prepare; (2) on the healthier side; (3) something that everyone of my family happily ate.  Fish tacos are at the top of the list.  It is pretty easy to pop some fish in the oven and cut up some veggies.  The list of fixings I serve totally changes with what I have on hand or what I remembered to buy.  But the dinner works every time.  My kids (and husband) love that they can customize their own plate.  As you can see from the pictures everyone has a different interpretation.



IMG_0329 IMG_0325

Strawberry Soup


I totally forgot about my pet peeve for blogs with recipes.  I want the recipe first and notes and funny stories after.  I will practice what I preach!  Scroll down after the recipe for more…

Strawberry Soup

Yield: 4 servings


  • 16 ounces strawberries
  • 1 cup fruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt


  1. Wash and de-stem and cut the strawberries in half.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender.
  3. Blend for thirty seconds
  4. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
  5. Can be made the day before.
  6. I usually quadruple the recipe to feed a crowd.
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We are currently celebrating the Jewish holiday of Shavuot where the Jews were first given the torah.  It is a custom on this holiday to eat lots of dairy and not meat.  There are different theories behind this but one that I recently heard that I really like is that the Torah to the Jews is like the Mother’s Milk.

I have been making a different strawberry soup for many years – but it had a ton of sugar in it.  Over the last couple of months I have personally cut plain sugar from my diet.  I have not been able to cut it from my kids diet but I am more thoughtful about giving it to them.  I changed my basic recipe that is fruit, juice and honey.   I used a pineapple, banana, orange juice that gave the soup a lot of natural sweetness with no added white sugar.



We had 10 people for our Shavuot dinner last night and all but one 6 year old boy licked their bowl clean! I am glad I wrote the recipe down as I was working on it.  I will definitely make it next year.

What Erica’s Eating – week 2


Hello ladies!  I actually have my act together early this week, so I wanted to share the meal plan tonight so you can do your shopping over the weekend, if that helps 🙂

Friday– I made these chicken cashew lettuce cups.  I also made rice and roasted cauliflower.  Jake didn’t want to eat them in lettuce, so I used a tortilla for him and turned it into more of a burrito.  I skipped the rice and used the lettuce- delicious!

Saturday– I made this quick lasagna. I used ground turkey instead of red meat since we’re making burgers later in the week.  I had never made this recipe before, but it’s definitely a keeper!  I skipped the crushed red peppers and let the hubby put them on his!  I served it with some roasted asparagus.

Sunday– We’re having dinner with my parents, so you’re on your own on this one 🙂

Monday– I’m making Chinese chicken.  I’m going to use drumsticks and marinate them the night before, so I just have to throw that pan in the oven when I get home from work.

1/3 C soy sauce
3 Tbs vegetable oil 9 I use Canola)
1 teas dry mustard
1/2 teas ground ginger
1/4 teas pepper
1 cove garlic, minced
1   3 pound chicken, quartered  (I’m going to use drumsticks)
Mix all ingredients, except the chicken. Put into roasting pan, brush on all sides and let stand for 30 minutes. Brush several more times. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until tender. Brush chicken with additional sauce and pan drippings every 15 minutes.  Again, I’ll just marinate this the night before, so I don’t have any prep time when I get home.

I’m going to serve this with a quinoa salad. I figure this will also be delicious for lunch the next day!
Sweet Corn & Chopped Spinach Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in cool water
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup (3-4 ears) sweet or yellow corn kernels, cut from the cob
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 regular tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

For the vinaigrette:
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced or grated on Microplane zester
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium-sized sauce pan over high heat, pour vegetable stock and add quinoa. Bring mixture to a boil, place lid on top and reduce heat to medium. Cook the quinoa until tender and all stock has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and remove lid.

Vinaigrette: Squeeze limes into a small bowl. Add honey, salt, pepper and garlic and stir well. With a fork, stream in olive oil and whisk well.

In a large bowl, combine corn, tomatoes, basil, spinach and almonds. Add cooled quinoa, lime vinaigrette and stir. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Quinoa salad is delicious both cool and room temperature.

Tuesday– I get home late on Tuesday’s and have very little time, so we’re going easy with this linguini and zucchini pasta.  Yummy!

Wednesday– We’re going to throw some burgers and veggies on the grill.  It’s a good excuse to my the hubby cook and have less to clean when we’re done!

Thursday– Pizza night as always!

Friday– We’re doing leftovers.  I love to clean out the fridge before I shop for the next week, so leftovers night it is!

That’s it ladies- I’m away for Memorial Day weekend, so that’s as far as I go.  Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Banana Chocolate Almond Flour Bread


My kids love snacks.  They would rather have a snack every hour of the day then ever sit down to a meal.  I love to find healthy, homemade but yummy snacks.  This recipe is based off of and adapted from Elenas Pantry’s Paleo Banana Bread with only a few slight changes.  Elanas Pantry is an amazing resource for anyone interested in Paleo/low-carb/SCD or has Celiac.  I have loved everything I have made there.  I am probably making the Almond Butter Blondies tomorrow night for Shabbat.


This is a great recipe because it uses honey as a sweetener and only almond flour instead of regular flour.  I added the chocolate chips to ensure my kids would eat it.  They gobbled it up when I brought it to the playground yesterday.  My husband even ate it for breakfast this morning instead of a store bought scone!

This is my first time using the recipe plugin.  I hope it works!


Banana Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Bread

Cook Time: 45 minutes



  • 3 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put all ingredients - except the chocolate chips! - into a high powered blender or food processor and pulse ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Once smooth, stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter between two greased mini-loaf pans
  5. Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 30 minutes and tip out of pan.
  7. Enjoy!
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How to Have a Happy Mother’s Day

How to Have the Best Mother's Day


Mother’s Day can be a lot of pressure for your spouse and family.  If they don’t do everything you hoped for – it can also be a big letdown.  I don’t think about Mother’s Day as the one day my kids and husband appreciate and pamper me for all my hard work during the year.  I hope to be appreciated most days – as I try to appreciate my husband for what he does.  When I make dinner on a random weekday – I expect and encourage them to thank me for my work (because it is work!).  If I don’t feel unappreciated all year then I won’t have to put too much pressure on one day a year.

Today was a great Mother’s Day!  My kids ran into my arms with hugs and kisses and told me the loved me very much.  I got thoughtful handmade cards and an awesome photo mug.  We then did our regular Sunday stuff – soccer, lunch – t-ball but everyone did it with extra hugs and smiles for me.  I felt loved and happy.  Definitely a great Mother’s Day!